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Lars von Trier Banned From Cannes For Anti-Semitic Comments

Lars von Trier Banned From Cannes For Anti-Semitic Comments (photo)

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It began with a film about the end of the world. Now it’s the end of Cannes for one filmmaker.

In the wake of his anti-Semitic comments (or just really tasteless anti-Semitic jokes), director Lars von Trier has been banned from the Cannes Film Festival. Here is Cannes’ official statement on the subject:

“The Festival de Cannes provides artists from around the world with an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression and creation. The Festival’s Board of Directors, which held an extraordinary meeting this Thursday 19 May 2011, profoundly regrets that this forum has been used by Lars von Trier to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the Festival.

The Board of Directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately.”

This despite the fact that von Trier had already issued an apology for the remarks, which came at the Cannes press conference for his new apocalyptic film “Melancholia.” Steven Zeitchik from The Los Angeles Times got further apology and explanation during his interview with von Trier:

“I’m really sincere when I say I don’t really know what hit me. I can understand if you take things out of context. This was very sarcastic and very rude, but that’s very Danish. I’m very sorry that it’s being taken the wrong way… I must say that I believe strongly that the Holocaust is the worst crime against humanity ever, and I do not sympathize with Hitler one second.”

von Trier definitely went too far with his first comments, but now we have to wonder: did Cannes go too far with its response? What von Trier said was titanically stupid; even if it wasn’t meant seriously (and I don’t believe it was) it has to be one of the worst jokes in history. And this wasn’t something said privately to a friend within earshot of a journalist, it was said at a scheduled press conference in front of basically the entirety of the international film press. To say something like that, in a place like that, even to provoke, is so dumb that to some degree von Trier deserves whatever punishment he gets.

But as many point out — as Cannes’ own press statement points out — Cannes is supposed to be a place dedicated to free expression. And within 24 hours of von Trier’s awful comments, Cannes welcomed Mel Gibson — no stranger to awful comments himself — to walk their famous red carpet in support of his movie “The Beaver.” Gibson has a history of anti-Semitism; so why is he okay and von Trier is not? It can’t be because he apologized; von Trier apologized too. Or what about a filmmaker like Roman Polanski, who hasn’t simply said controversial things; he’s been convicted of committing actual crimes. But he’s welcome at Cannes; his film, “The Pianist” (about the Holocaust, he says, bringing things full circle) played the festival in 2002.

I was pretty offended by von Trier’s comments, to paraphrase a line from “Seinfeld,” less as a Jew than as a comedian. I said yesterday I didn’t expect an apology; but we already got one. It’s not like he apologized while getting a swastika tattooed on his forehead or something. von Trier may not be the best public speaker, but he is one of the best filmmakers, and I don’t think he or his films are truly anti-Semitic. He doesn’t deserve to be banned from the Cannes Film Festival. So here’s a compromise: ban him from having any more dumb press conferences, and let the movies speak for themselves.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.